What is “Boofing” And is It Dangerous?

Lauren Smith
Dr. Kimberly Langdon
Written by Lauren Smith on 21 April 2023
Medically reviewed by Dr. Kimberly Langdon on 01 May 2024

“Boofing” is a slang term for inserting drugs or alcohol into your anus, to produce a more immediate high or avoid the risks of other methods of administration (e.g. snorting or injection). However, boofing comes with its own dangers, including a heightened risk of overdose, irritation and tearing of the anus, and infections.

What is “Boofing” And is It Dangerous?

What exactly is boofing?

Boofing: the definition of the slang term became an improbable point of contention in the 2018 Senate confirmation hearing for now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Kavanaugh used the term in his 1983 yearbook and, amid questions about his alcohol use and allegations of sexual misconduct and assault, was asked to define it. 

He insisted the word meant flatulence but observers were quick to point out that boofing is much more commonly a colloquialism for inserting drugs or alcohol into the rectum or for anal sex. A search of Urban Dictionary confirms these definitions.

We’re interested in the first popular meaning of boofing: the insertion of intoxicating substances—ranging from cocaine to alcohol—into the anus. This method of substance use is also known as booty bumps, plugging, and, when done with alcohol, butt chugging. In medical terminology, it’s known as “trans-rectal abuse.”

Boofing is done with methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, MDMA (ecstasy), and alcohol.

How does boofing work?

In boofing, a substance is inserted into the anus or rubbed around the anal sphincter. It’s quickly absorbed through the mucous membranes of the anus, where the skin is thin and the blood supply is abundant, and enters the bloodstream. From there it almost immediately hits the brain, bypassing two-thirds of the first-pass metabolism by the liver.

The effects are quick. It’s widely known that legitimate medications administered rectally have a faster onset and higher bioavailability than medications that are ingested. 

The same is true of illicit drugs. Researchers have noted that meth users report effects within 3 to 5 minutes of rectal administration, comparable to snorting (3-5) minutes and faster than oral ingestion (20-30 minutes), although slower than smoking (7-10 seconds) or intravenous injection (15-30 seconds).

There are different methods of inserting a drug into the anus. In some cases, powdered drugs are rubbed into the lining of the anus, a process known as “dabbing.” Some people may use straws to blow powdered drugs into each others’ rectums. Powders can also be dissolved into water and injected into the rectum with needleless syringes, enema bulbs, or lube shooters.

Substances are also wrapped into cigarette paper and shoved into the rectum, a practice known as stuffing. Sometimes users dispense with cigarette paper, although with rocky, crystalline substances like crystal meth and crack cocaine, this can cause cuts in the delicate skin of the anus, with the risk of bleeding and infection.

Why do people boof?

Boofing is seen as a way to get an immediate, intense high and as a safer alternative to other methods of administration. 

Rectal administration is sometimes promoted by harm reduction groups as a way of avoiding vascular damage, skin and bloodstream infections, skin abscesses, and track marks. Users can also avoid the nasal damage that comes with snorting drugs or the throat and lung damage from smoking them. However, boofing does have its own dangers, beyond the inherent dangers of drug and alcohol abuse.

For some people, boofing is done to enhance anal play or anal sex, with drugs added to lube, condoms, or toys.

What is butt chugging or boofing alcohol?

Alcohol can also be introduced into the body through the anus—a process technically known as an alcohol enema and colloquially called boofing or butt-chugging. Two methods are commonly employed: either a tube with a funnel connected, into which alcohol—usually beer or wine— is poured, or an alcohol-soaked tampon inserted into the anus.

What are the dangers of boofing?

Boofing isn’t without its own dangers, in addition to the usual dangers of substance use.

First, boofing can irritate or damage the lining of the anus, leading to pain, bleeding, and infections. This is especially true if you don’t dissolve the substance in water and instead use the “dabbing” or “stuffing” methods.

While some people might boof drugs to avoid intravenous drug use’s risk of HIV and other infections, boofing itself can be a mode of transmission. Boofing can cause tears in the anus, which can be an entry point for viruses such as HIV, hepatitis C and A, and STIs such as chlamydia. Sharing boofing equipment, such as needless syringes, can increase the risk of transmitting these infections.

Additionally, because boofing, like intravenous injection, delivers a strong, immediate hit, overdosing is more likely. While snorting or smoking a drug delivers a smaller amount into your system each time, helping you gauge your reaction and dose, boofing can introduce a large, unpredictable dose all at once, which can overwhelm the body.

This is especially true when boofing alcohol. When alcohol is introduced into the anus, it is absorbed directly into the bloodstream. This not only produces more rapid intoxication but also bypasses the metabolism of the alcohol that occurs in the stomach and liver. Alcohol introduced directly through the bloodstream will eventually arrive at the liver for metabolism and excretion but at such high levels. it could overwhelm the organ. 

Additionally, when you insert alcohol into the anus rather than drinking it, the body doesn’t have access to the relief valve of vomiting to expel the excess. These combined factors make dangerous, unpredictable levels of intoxication and alcohol poisoning more likely.

Resources:

  1. Abad-Santos, A. (2018, September 27). Brett Kavanaugh’s yearbook: the “boof” joke, explained. Vox.
  2. Jimmy Kimmel Accurately Defines “Devil’s Triangle” And “Boofing,” in Case You Were Curious | Decider. (2018, October 2).
  3. Urban Dictionary: Boofing. (n.d.). Urban Dictionary. Retrieved April 24, 2023, from
  4. Gupta, M., Bailey, S., & Lovato, L. M. (2009). Bottoms up: methamphetamine toxicity from an unusual route. The Western Journal of Emergency Medicine, 10(1), 58–60.
  5. Booty bumps – Friday/Monday. (2018). Friday/Monday.
  6. Plugging ecstasy? | Go Ask Alice! (n.d.). Goaskalice.columbia.edu.
  7. Approach to Rectal Administration: A Refresher. (n.d.). Enclara Pharmacia.
  8. LAADC, J. P., MA. (2018, July 19). How to Booty Bump Better. San Francisco AIDS Foundation.
  9. Booty Bump: What It Is, How It’s Done, Risks, & More. (2021, May 3). Healthline.
  10. Booty-Bumping Meth: Harm Reduction for an Under-Discussed Practice. (2019, December 10). Filter.
  11. News, A. B. C. (n.d.). 5 Shocking Ways Your Kids Try to Get Drunk. ABC News. Retrieved April 24, 2023, from
  12. Wilson, J. (2012, September 26). Experts: Alcohol enemas “extremely dangerous.” CNN.

Activity History - Last updated: 01 May 2024, Published date:


Reviewer

Kimberly Langdon M.D. has been contributing to medical fields including mental health and addiction since she retired from medicine; with over 19 years of practicing clinical experience.

Activity History - Medically Reviewed on 21 April 2023 and last checked on 01 May 2024

Medically reviewed by
Dr. Kimberly Langdon

M.D.

Dr. Kimberly Langdon

Reviewer

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